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U.S. Weight Loss Market Struggles, But Commercial Chains Survive The Pandemic

John LaRosa, Research Director
John LaRosa, Research Director

There is a lot of pent-up demand for weight loss services in 2021."

March 18, 2021 - Marketdata LLC, a leading market research firm tracking the weight loss market since 1989, has just released the 16th edition of its bestselling report: “The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market”. The report is a comprehensive business analysis of ALL 12 segments of the weight loss market and its competitors -- commercial and medical programs, multi-level marketers, retail meal replacements and diet pills, dieter demographics, the health clubs industry, and low-cal foods and soft drinks.

“Part of the weight loss market was hit hard in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing recession forced the closure of health clubs and many retail weight loss centers. Patient volumes at hospitals, clinics and physician offices also plummeted. However, there were bright spots, namely: commercial chains that pivoted to Zoom and Facebook meetings and drop shipping of diet foods, multi-level marketers, booming sales of frozen diet dinners, and shelf stable meal replacements.”, according to Research Director, John LaRosa

Major Report Findings:

* Hospitals and clinics, focused on treating Covid-19 patients, cancelled elective surgeries such as weight loss procedures. Consequently, this segment of the market fell 20% from $8.8 billion to $7.1 billion in 2020.

* Revenues of health & fitness clubs took a major hit, declining by 37% from $35 billion to $22 billion, due to pandemic-related closures. This is one of the hardest hit segments of the weight loss market, as these facilities were among the first to close and among the last to reopen for business. An estimated 17% of health clubs went out of business last year in the U.S.

* Revenues of the major commercial weight loss chains such as WW, NutriSystem,Jenny Craig, Medifast and others actually held up well last year, growing by 6.8% in 2020 to $4.07 billion. WW had a very moderate dip in sales as it shifted from in-person studio business to virtual meetings.

* Sales of frozen diet dinners and low-carb foods are estimated to have risen to $2.1 billion, as homebound consumers stocked up on them for convenience during the pandemic.

* Meal replacements and retail appetite suppressants (diet pills) sales held up well in 2020. These products have largely escaped effects of the pandemic due to their easy availability and low price, MLM and internet/mail order channels that remained open during the pandemic, and their easy accessibility and low price. Combined sales were up 2.6% to $5.08 billion, with meal replacements accounting for $3.0 billion and retail diet pills accounting for $2.08 billion.

* Weight loss surgeries are estimated to have fallen from 256,000 in 2019 to under 205,000 in 2020. Again, the elimination of elective surgeries during the pandemic resulted in a major loss of business.

* Companies that weathered the recession and the pandemic well include: WW Intl., Noom, Herbalife, Medifast, Simply Good Foods (Atkins brand), Nestle (Lean Cuisine), HMR Boston, Glanbia (SlimFast brand), weight loss apps, and meal replacements producers.

* Multi-level marketing companies constitute a major force in the weight loss market, with the top 8 firms accounting for $3.4 billion in 2020 sales. Included in this group are Medifast, Herbalife, Shaklee, BeachBody, AMWAY, USANA, Isagenix and more.

“The pandemic resulted in an accelerated shift to technology for the weight loss market, as Zoom meetings, apps and streaming services soared in usage. Due to pent-up demand and consumer weight gain in 2020, most providers are looking for a strong rebound in 2021, as Americans are vaccinated and businesses reopen.”, according to John LaRosa, Research Director.


About The Report

“The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market”, March 2021, is a 438-page independent analysis of all segments of the weight losss market. It contains 34 in-depth competitor profiles and 160+ tables and charts. Coverage of: commercial chains, meal replacements and appetite suppressants, diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, low-calorie frozen dinner entrees, the health clubs industry, prescription obesity drugs, medical weight loss programs by hospitals, clinics and MD offices, bariatrician programs, weight loss surgery, and the diet books and exercise DVDs/streaming market. Extensive coverage of the effects of the pandemic and recession on operations and revenues is provided. 2020 market performance, 2021 & 2025 Forecasts. The report’s price is $2,195, and individual chapters can be purchsed at lower prices. A 46-page Overview costs $99. The Table of Contents can be found at: (Studies page, Report FS67). Contact: Marketdata LLC, 7210 Wareham Drive, Tampa, FL  33647,  813-971-8080. John LaRosa is available for interviews.

About Marketdata

Marketdata LLC is a 42-year old, independent market research firm with a specialty tracking the weight loss market since 1989. It publishes a wide variety of reports about service and healthcare sectors, and does consulting, custom research projects, and teleconference calls. Marketdata also operates a free website,, updated daily with the latest weight loss market and competitor news, analyses and a blog by John LaRosa.

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